Contributed By: Carol
Bray | Messiah Lutheran Church, Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati Reds, Christie Brinkley, Tony-Award winning composer Stephen
Flaherty and Metropolitan Opera star Victoria Livengood are just a few of the
many celebrities asking for your support for Cincinnatian Jennifer Linnabary’s
fight against cancer. Linnabary, co-creator of Project SEARCH, has been
diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, a rare, aggressive blood cancer. “My
emotions are on a roller coaster ride, but my faith has grown so much since I
started this journey,” said Linnabary. “I hope/love to have the energy to work
again. I love my job.”
Linnabary is a vital citizen of Cincinnati and the health care world. In 1996
she helped create Project SEARCH, an award-winning international program that
enables individuals with disabilities to get good, long-term jobs, improving
their quality of life while also benefiting businesses and the community.
Project SEARCH is based at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and
has program sites in nearly all 50 states, United Kingdom, Australia and
has worked extensively with the international business and health care
communities as employment coordinator of Project SEARCH. She has conferred with
national leaders such as Assistant US Secretary of Labor Neil Romano and
England’s Prince Edward. “On a more personal note, many Project SEARCH sites
send staff to Children's to specifically spend time and learn from Jennifer.
She is considered an expert in designing personal adaptations,” said Susie
Rutkowski, Project SEARCH co-director/educational specialist at Great Oaks
Institute of Technology and Career Development, where Linnabary is employed.
Linnabary’s battle with cancer is not new. She was diagnosed with mantel cell
lymphoma in 2009. Her remission lasted a year. With its return in March of this
year, Linnabary went on medical leave and on May 10, underwent a dangerous stem
cell transplant from her brother, Gene, at Jewish Hospital, in Cincinnati.
Mantle cell lymphoma is one of the rarest of the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas,
comprising less than 6 percent of NHL cases. There are only about 15,000
patients presently in the U.S. Less than 1 percent of these are women, making
Linnabary 1 of about 140 U.S. patients with mantle cell lymphoma. The odds of
one family member being an exact match for a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant
are 24 percent or less. Out of Linnabary’s five siblings tested, three were a
perfect match – about 1 in a million chances. Dr. E. Randolph Broun, Medical
Director of The Jewish Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant Center, Cincinnati,
OH, said this has never happened in a family in his years of practice.
Linnabary remains hospitalized long-term as doctors continue treatment to keep
the new stem cells from rejecting her body.
The financial toll from last year’s initial treatment substantially crippled
the Linnabary family. The cost of medical care this time may exceed $350,000.
Family and friends of the Linnabarys are reaching out for help.
In a testament to how much Linnabary is loved, friends, family and celebrities
around the world have opened their hearts in an outpouring of support for the
Linnabarys. Messiah Lutheran Church, Cincinnati, has launched “Help Us Help
Jennifer Linnabary Fight Cancer,” a donation campaign. The Church is also providing
meals and giving the family spiritual and emotional support. “Our goal is to
raise enough money to pay for Jennifer’s costly medical care and the daily
living expenses of her family,” said the Rev. Scott Tessin, pastor of Messiah
Lutheran. There are further plans being made for fundraisers and raffles by the
church, as well as by relatives across the country.
A native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, Linnabary is a graduate of Xavier University
and Otterbein College. She is married to Tim Linnabary and is the mother of
Rebecca, a student at Miami University-Hamilton, OH, and Benjamin, a student at
Colerain High School, Cincinnati.
To donate tax-free to this special lady, go online to: Help Us Help Jennifer
Linnabary Fight Cancer – http://helpjenniferlinnabary.blogspot.com. See
Linnabary’s story, photos and the well wishes arriving daily from celebrities, friends across the nation and those around the world familiar with
and/or benefitted by Linnabary’s work on the website. You can also
donate at Messiah Lutheran Church, or First National Bank of Fairfield.
Jennifer Linnabary can also be found on Facebook.